In the Chinese Zodiac, 2015 was the year of the Ram. For me however, it was the year of travel. In fact, it was hands down my most exciting year of travel to date where I crossed so many things off my bucket list, I think I’m going to have to write a new one!
I am very lucky to have had so many amazing experiences this year, but to be honest it’s not luck, it’s working hard and saving up that got me there. If there’s one thing I implore you to do, it is travel. You may not have much money right now, especially after all that Christmas shopping (unless of course, you were visited by Santa in which case you could be quids in!) but saving up does not have to be hard.
Here are my Top Travel Moments of 2015, I hope they inspire you to book a trip to somewhere in the world you’ve never been before… maybe even one of the places I’ve visited… As with all my posts, if you have any questions about travelling or need advice on a place please leave me a comment below or email [email protected] 🙂 I love being able to help!
Getting My Confidence Back At Skiing, Austria
I’ve always loved skiing, but after breaking my pelvis whilst skiing in Val D’Isere in 2010, I’ve been a bit scared to really go for it again. I became the girl snow ploughing and shuddering on the edge of the piste, hating every moment of life – especially whenever a ski school of 8 year olds came flying past me. At the very beginning of this year though, we went to MariaAlm in Austria, which is smack bang in the centre of some great Austria ski resorts. Over the course of the week, my confidence grew and grew until I was back on the black slopes again and whizzing past the ski schools. Yipeee! Definitely a golden travel moment of 2015… I mean, where else can you get these beautiful Alpine views?
Touring Stockholm – By Running 26.2miles Round It! – Sweden
I’ve always said the best way to see a city is on foot and after running the Stockholm marathon in May this year, I can confirm that it’s a truly incredible way to see a place, albeit exhausting. Did you know that at mile 14 they give out gherkins for energy? It’s a Swedish thing apparently. Safe to say, I nearly slipped on a soggy one that someone had dropped but luckily I managed to make my round the course and complete it in 3 hours 54 minutes! A travel (and fitness) moment i’ll never forget…
Hiking in the Cinque Terre, Italy
We were invited to review La Francesca Resort this year which is at the top of the Cinque Terre in Italy. Obviously we said yes and hopped on a plane to Pisa for a week of sun, sea and hiking along the coast. This is a UNESCO world heritage site you HAVE to add to your bucket list… here’s why:
Exploring Skiathos Island, Greece
A week of pure luxury and escapism at The Skiathos Princess hotel was the perfect way for me and my boyfriend to spend some quality time together before I went away travelling. One of our favourite days was spent on a sailing adventure that took us around the island. During one of our stops we went cave swimming, where one of the Italian guests on board collected a load of sea urchins for us to eat at lunch! It was actually pretty delicious, proving to me that you should always say Yes to trying new things.
Helicopter Flight To The Grand Canyon, USA
Getting picked up in a limo before being whisked away to the Grand Canyon by helicopter is definitely one of my Top Travel Moments of 2015. I mean, could it get any more glamorous? We even had a champagne picnic within the Grand Canyon itself. Best Day Ever!
Hiking Half Dome, Yosemite National Park, USA
We were totally unprepared for this hike and just generally being in Yosemite anyway. I mean, it was California in September so we rocked up in shorts and vests, but it was bloody freezing! Especially at night. Turns out Yosemite National Park is pretty high up, which just makes it even more spectacular to be honest. The hike to Half Dome is long, steep and unbelievably humbling. It feels like you’re in a Disney film, Pocahontas to be exact.
Driving The Pacific Highway, California, USA
Ever since I saw the first episode of The OC, I’ve dreamed of visiting California and ‘driving down the 101’. 12 years later (yes, really) and I finally got to do just that! We drove from San Francisco to LA via the 101 and Route 1 Pacific highway, taking in breathtaking views of Big Sur and the incredible ocean road. This is another big recommendation of mine for your bucket lists…
Island Hopping In Paradise, Fiji
I can confirm that Fiji is paradise. Heaven on earth. I mean look at these beaches. And these cute little beach shacks you stay in. There’s only about 2 hours of electricity a day and no WIFI, which was honestly the best feeling ever! Disconnecting from the manic 24/7 world we live in and getting onto ‘Fiji time’ is what travelling is all about…
Sky Diving Over Abel Tasman National Park, New Zealand
This year, another dream came true when I sky dived for the first time over Abel Tasman National Park in New Zealand. There is no other feeling in the world that can compete with the exhilaration and adrenaline of jumping out of a plane at 16,500 feet and free falling through the air. I could have done this over and over again, but alas my budget did not permit me to do so!
Swimming With Dolphins in Kaikoura, New Zealand
New Zealand proved itself to not only be the adventure capital of the world but also gave me my first experience of swimming with wild dolphins. I told you my bucket list looks pretty empty now..
Sailing The Whitsunday Islands, Australia
The Whitsunday islands are a group of 74 islands off the north coast of Queensland and right at the edge of the Great Barrier Reef. Undoubtedly one of my favourite memories of this year was taking a 3 day, 2 night sailing trip around the Whitsunday Islands and up to the Great Barrier Reef where I tried diving for the first time! We also got to spend an afternoon on Whitehaven beach, which is consistently voted as one of the world’s best beaches. With 7km of the finest white sand imaginable, I can definitely see why…
Visiting Byron Bay in a 1974 VW Camper Van, Australia
Cheer Up, Slow Down, Chill Out reads the sign as you drive into Byron Bay. Complete with Peace Signs. The Hippie vibe is strong here and we made it stronger still by rocking up in a VW Kombi Campervan. Even though it rained 2 out of the 3 days we were in Byron Bay, I absolutely fell in love with the place.
Feeding a Kangaroo and Cuddling a Koala, Australia
I think this one speaks for itself! Visiting Australia Zoo, which is Steve Irwin’s zoo near Brisbane is a must-visit for anyone coming to Australia. Kangaroos are just like big bunnies! You get to wander around their huge enclosure to feed them ‘Roo Food’ and we were even lucky enough to cuddle with a Koala called April. Dream come true.
Learning To Dive, Gili Trawangan, Indonesia
After doing three introductory dives at the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, we were hooked. Diving to the bottom of the sea feels like you’re venturing on another planet, with alien life and plant forms everywhere and a feeling of complete weightlessness. We did a 3 day PADI dive course at Big Bubble Dive School on Gili Trawangan, Indonesia, which led me to cross even more off my bucket list, as we swam with turtles, sharks and are now qualified to dive at 18 metres anywhere in the world!
A Little Taste Of China, Hong Kong
We finished the trip and my year in travel in Hong Kong. This incredible city is a dynamic fusion of East and West that will amaze and confuse you in equal measure! I mean, it’s so hilly and mountainous yet there are huge skyscraper jutting out of the greenery. Skyscrapers that light up and bewitch you as you walk beneath them. I’ve never been anywhere quite like Hong Kong and I can’t wait to go again in the future.
So there we have it, my top travel moments of 2015. It’s taken me so long to write this post as there have just been so many incredible experiences from my big trip, I couldn’t choose between them all! I promise to catch up on my blog posts soon and write about everything in more detail 🙂 Thanks for following my journey.
I can’t wait to see what 2016 has in store….